Day-old coffee and other familiar Berkeley smells

Berkeley is distinct in many ways. You could recognize it anywhere — whether by its architecture, its people, its shops, its food, or … its smell.

1. Dried-up vomit


Someone got a little too turnt last night and puked in your apartment’s hallway. Worse still, your landlord is gone for the weekend, and there’s no one to sprinkle the desiccated chunks with that magical vomit-be-gone powder. Yup, that’s definitely going to leave a stain in the carpet.

2. Carcinogenic mist from the steam vents on campus


Once a popular exploration site, the steam tunnels that run underneath campus were closed off because of the dangers they posed, including exposure to radon gas and asbestos. Nowadays, students like to stand over the steam vents on cold nights, savoring the warmth and breathing in the carcinogenic mist.

3. Day-old coffee

Brenna Alexander/File

Brenna Alexander/File

Ahh, nothing beats the smell of day-old coffee. You brewed yourself a steaming pot of dark roast the night before, but you forgot to store it in the fridge. Now it’s got a light, translucent film over it — but, it should be good, right? What’s a day, really? It probably won’t kill you. You’ve had raw cookie batter before, so you’re basically immune to disease.

4. Moldy backpack


Your backpack has seen some hard times. Your water bottle leaked, and it never fully dried out. The turkey sandwich you meant to eat last Monday slowly stewed in its own juices until you noticed a suspicious odor and had to dig it out from underneath your textbooks. Now it smells like something you were dared to drink in elementary school— you know, like some soy-sauce-orange-soda concoction your friends mixed in an empty Coke can.

5. Hangover breath


As if the dry mouth wasn’t bad enough, your breath smells like moldy toilet bowl hooch. No amount of Altoids is going to cover that stench. Don’t believe us? WikiHow recommends eating charcoal as a cure for hangover breath. Literally. Next time, muster the energy to brush your teeth before you pass out on your couch.

6. Old-book smell

Eugene W. Lau/File

Eugene W. Lau/File

There’s something comforting about stepping into a used bookstore and being surrounded by that classic, old-book smell. You don’t really have the free time to read for leisure anymore, but every now and then, you like to step into Shakespeare & Company and press an old paperback to your nose. Who knew dusty pages could smell so good?

7. Weed


Well, obviously.

Image Sources: Sean GanannMichael WyszomierskiEnoksonLeo HidalgoNepalGateway Trekking

Contact Lilia Vega at [email protected].